The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Point-scoring won’t shape future

- PETER GLEESON peter.gleeson@news.com.au

BRITISH musician Joe Jackson is one of those classic 1980s songwriter­s who fuses soul with punk, new wave with jive, quaintly referred to by critics as “power pop”.

One of his best and most haunting songs is Real Men, released in 1982. When it was released, Jackson told Billboard Magazine that the song was about the “age old battle of the sexes’’.

“I think the average male has had his masculinit­y and supremacy threatened to the point where he’s not sure what it is he’s supposed to do. Intelligen­t, forward-thinking in the sexual arena is being done by women. It’s all about the way stereotype­s have reversed … and become meaningles­s.’’

Sound familiar? Maybe that explains these lyrics in Real Men: “Man makes a gun, man goes to war. Man can kill and man can drink. And man can take a whore. Kill all the blacks, kill all the reds. And if there’s war between the sexes, then there’ll be no people left.”

Make no mistake, there’s a global revolution going on and women are at the forefront. In Australia, women are roaring and the polling damage being inflicted upon Prime Minister Scott Morrison is real and it’s being led by young females intent on righting what they see as entrenched wrong. Morrison’s stocks with women – particular­ly those under 40 – have plummeted and the Labor Party, which is just as bad on its treatment of women, is using the war among the sexes to undermine his leadership.

Queensland’s Deputy Premier Steven Miles last week even suggested the Prime Minister was using the vaccinatio­n rollout issue as a diversion against the Brittany Higgins sexual assault matter. Extraordin­ary stuff from Queensland’s second most senior politician. Completely misguided, Miles is from the Left faction and they smell blood in the water. Gender politics is right in their wheelhouse. But there’s a darker, more sinister implicatio­n attached to this debate.

The battle lines have been drawn. Workplace behaviour is being scrutinise­d. Employers are concerned at their liability with new laws set to be passed in federal parliament. The prank is dead. The 1970s ribald humour is gone. But here’s the scary thing. A significan­t majority of men treat women with great respect. The narrative being promulgate­d by some that all men are misogynist pigs is not true. We must be very careful as a society not to over-egg this issue. Sexual consent laws are being tightened in favour of victims.

The new laws mean both parties must “enthusiast­ically” embrace the notion that they are about to have sex. A contract, signed by a JP, might be advisable. We must be careful not to set some men up for an innocent fall. Some women are not as enamoured with the feminist movement as others, fearful their sons or grandsons might be unfairly targeted.

With Labor and the Greens now politicisi­ng this issue, it has taken on a life of its own and it’s now being referred to by senior lawyers as the “new morality’’. This mantra says all individual­s are entitled to freedom and equality. What a wonderful and admirable aim. If only it was that easy.

Crooner Joe Jackson cottoned on to the so-called “new morality’’ nearly four decades ago. He mused that the price to pay was the emasculati­on of masculinit­y. Or as some women say, toxic masculinit­y. Call me old-fashioned, even simple, but isn’t it easier to make love, not war?

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